The Ghost in the Constitution

BookThe Ghost in the Constitution

The Ghost in the Constitution

Historical Memory and Denial in Spanish Society

Contemporary Hispanic and Lusophone Cultures, 15


June 30th, 2017

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The Ghost in the Constitution offers a reflection on the political use of the concept of historical memory foregrounding the case of Spain. The book analyses the philosophical implications of the transference of the notion of memory from the individual consciousness to the collective subject and considers the conflation of epistemology with ethics. A subtheme is the origins and transmission of political violence, and its endurance in the form of symbolic violence and “negationism” in the post-Franco era. Some chapters treat of specific “traumatic” phenomena such as the bombing of Guernica and the Holocaust.


'Intellectually engaging, thoughtful, coherent, and logically developed. Resina writes with an elegance of style uncommon among scholars ...the most apt synthesis and expansion of ideas on memory and latency that I have read in recent years.'
David Herzberger, University of California Riverside

‘There is ample thought-provoking material and some stimulating insight in The Ghost in the Constitution, resulting from extensive research presented in polished writing.’

José Colmeiro, Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies

Author Information

Joan Ramon Resina is Professor of Iberian and Latin American Cultures at Stanford University. His previous books include Barcelona’s Vocation of Modernity: Rise and Decline of an Urban Image. Stanford University Press, 2008.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
1. Historical Memory and the Limits of Retrospection19
2. Why Memory? Reflections on a Politics of Mourning32
3. Memory and Imputation49
4. Denial and the Ethics of Memory68
5. Warming Up for the War: The Cultural Transmission of Violence in Spain since the Early Twentieth Century82
6. Guernica as a Sign of History113
7. Delenda est Catalonia: The Unwelcome Memory124
8. Allez, Allez! The 1939 Exodus from Catalonia and Internment in French Concentration Camps145
9. The Corpse in One’s Bed: Mercè Rodoreda and the Concentrationary Universe157
10. Transatlantic Reversals: Exile and Anti-History165
11. The Weight of Memory and the Lightness of Oblivion: The Dead of the Spanish Civil War178
12. Between Testimony and Fiction: Jorge Semprún’s Autobiographical Memory194
13. It Wasn’t This: Latency and Epiphenomenon of the Transition234
14. Window of Opportunity: The Television Documentary as After-Image of the War253
15. Anachronism and Latency in Spanish Democracy270
16. Negationism and Freedom of Speech286
17. Exhaustion of the Transition Pact: Revisionism and Symbolic Violence302